Discover DCB Wines Yarra Valley
Monday, July 29, 2019 in News
Meet Chris Bendle. Since 2013 Chris has been making Yarra Valley Pinot Noir and Chardonnay under his own DCB label having made his reputation at Hoddles Creek with Franco d’Anna. Now he has added Mornington Peninsula to his stable and started a successful experiment with Nebbiolo.
The 2018 release marks his fifth vintage under his DCB label. Having always wanted to make his own wines, he had the backing of Franco d’Anna to make his wine at Hoddles Creek winery, on his own time. This is quite a task for Chris whose fulltime job is making wine at Hoddles Creek, where reputation and expectation have grown, and where demand outstrips supply. Chris has taken the Hoddles philosophy of producing wines of elegance that are for pleasure but are also affordable and made it his own.
Chris Bendle spoke to us ahead of our portfolio launch. We asked Chris about that sweet spot for pricing Yarra Valley Pinot and Chardonnay. Chris said, ‘the challenge is the cost of the fruit, Pinot is expensive to grow and make. I want to charge enough to be able to keep making the wines but also so everyone can have a crack and enjoy.’
Chris also spoke about terroir being the main difference between DCB and the wine he makes with Franco. ‘The crucial difference is that the fruit isn’t grown on the same site. I source my fruit from around the Yarra. The single-site Pinot fruit comes from a red ferrosol clay, volcanic loam.’ This differs from the duplex clay that produces the Hoiddles estate fruit.
We also asked about the new DCB Whole Bunch Pinot. ‘I always maintained that the whole bunch stands out less in 100% whole bunch Pinot. I always add a little whole bunch to my Pinot but I ferment it separately to the destemmed Pinot. Tasting the whole bunch in barrel this time, the wine just kept showing beautifully. So we’ve bottled it.’
While the wines themselves are standouts, there is an outlier in the DCB pack–a Nebbiolo. Known as the ‘king of grapes’ in Piedmont, it is more often presented as the regional variety Langhe Nebbiolo, or as the King and Queen respectively of Barolo and Barbaresco. But in the Yarra Valley, it’s just Nebbiolo and there isn’t that much planted. Chris came across a parcel when in search of more Pinot. Speaking to Lou Primavera, they talk about a small parcel that was available and Chris was keen to play with Nebbiolo, a natural step for any Pinot maker. They split the parcel and Chris tried his hand at making a Nebbiolo.
Chris described how the first Nebbiolo under the DCB label came about. ‘I destemmed it 100% into a couple of old puncheons I had knocked the heads out of and fermented on skins for about 60 days. I had to take it up the road to a mate to use his press. While it was pressing, I reconstituted the barrels so the wine spent the whole time in the same oak. A year in barrel, a year in bottle. It was an experiment and I wasn't sure if I had done the right thing. But a producer from Traversa in Barbaresco was over and tasted the wines in January 2018 and said: “it tastes like young Nebbiolo.” That’s exactly what you want.’
We’re delighted to welcome Chris Bendle and his DCB wines to the Langton’s portfolio. If the wines you want are not available online, contact your broker.